There is no plan in place yet about how to prevent rates collected in Nenagh being spent in Clonmel after the next local elections, according to Cllr Seamus Morris. He pointed out that South Tipperary will have more councillors and more voting power in Budgets after 2014.
And he also highlighted that out of the five area offices to close - Newport, Borrisokane, Templemore, Roscrea and Cashel - four of them are in North Tipperary.
The Sinn Fein councillor was commenting as he once again rejected county manager Joe MacGrath’s plans to reorganise services throughout County Tipperary when the North and South county councils are merged under local government reform.
The manager presented his proposals at the July meeting of North Tipperary County Council.
“At the last county council meeting I decided that I had enough of pretending that the Putting People First programme and the Tipperary reorganisation was going to be a good thing for the people of Tipperary anddecided that the manager’s new approach to delivery of services in County Tipperary was in need of binning,” said Cllr Morris.
He said that Mr MacGrath “seemed to be uncomfortable” with him reminding him that Tipperary needed a full resource and needs analysis to be carried out before any plan is put in place to close anything.
Cllr Morris claimed that the county manager got “even more irritated that I kept reminding him that Lough Derg was being readied to be drained on behalf of an economic region 100 miles away. He claimed that it had nothing to do with the issue. I find it incredible that our most important natural resource could have nothing to do with the future economic well being of Tipperary.”
The councillor, who took issue with Mr MacGrath stating that the “country is broke”, pointed out the country was “far from broke” but the taxes collected were being misused.
“We seem to be rich enough to refuse to collect taxes from tax exiles, multinational corporations using Ireland as a tax haven and allow the elite to avoid tax,” he said.
Cllr Morris also took issue with Mr MacGrath’s statement that people could use local post offices to access council services.
“An Post lost tens of millions last year - due in some part by the broken promise by Labour and Fine Gael to compensate An Post for their universal social obligation to provide services to rural areas - and will be looking at having to close more rural post offices. An Post can’t be guaranteed to provide the services that the county manager is keen to strip away from the people of Tipperary,” he stated.
“This reorganisation process is premature as there are too many unanswered questions that need clarifying before we decide to close anything,” said Cllr Morris.
He said he found it “incredible” that no other councillor had questioned why they are not looking for a meeting to decide what extra services can be provided in the new united Tipperary, including schoolbus services, free schoolbooks, septic tank desludging, money for all-weather sports facilities and refuse collections. “I would encourage the other politicians to open their eyes and see that they are being taken for fools,” he said.